Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Why is Sir Keir Starmer Attracting Support from Far Right Bots?

For the past 4 years, the media has given wall-to-wall coverage to the antisemitism scandal which has mired the Labour Party, but today a new racism scandal is emerging which is anti-black, anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic. So far the media is giving this racism a free pass. Could this be because the racism is coming from "moderates" which meet the establishment's approval? Or could there be a racism hierarchy in both the Labour Party and Britain as a whole?

Recently I posted several tweets critical of Starmer's words on Black Lives Matter and the subsequent praise he received from Nigel Farage. I was met by a deluge of low follower Twitter accounts, many of which were insulting, abusive, or even racist as they expressed support for the Labour leader.

Now it's worth pointing out I've criticised Starmer several times without receiving such a large scale reaction so this is a new phenomenon. I must also point out these are not Labour bots, they're clearly as far right as it gets, and yet they're suddenly defending the Labour leader. This is concerning.

You could argue it was the Farage comment which attracted the far right and they were just causing trouble to amuse themselves, only it wasn't just this tweet they were appearing on, it was every tweet I posted about Starmer, as though they had been instructed. A clear pattern was emerging.

Take Archibald with 10 followers and no banner for example whose Twitter feed is full of right wing bile and who describes Black Lives Matter as a "Marxist anti Semitic group". He gleefully shares posts with the black on black crime trope as well as posts attacking left wing politicians. It is rather concerning that such a person would jump to the defence of the Labour leader.
Everything about Archibald's account screams bot. You have to ask what a person would get out of doing this, unless they were getting paid. Are the controllers of the bot farm exploiting Starmer's recent own goals to divide Labour? Or are they just thrilled to get a fifth columnist in charge?
Or what about 0 follower kingdomofkitsch who describes Black Lives Matter as an "incredibly divisive & problematic group"? Another account with a Twitter feed full of right wing bile who likes calling BAME MPs and celebs like Dawn Butler and Nish Kumar "plonkers". Why would someone with zero followers even bother?

Here is Robert with 35 followers who has decided we're all deluded commies and Black Lives Matter wants to destroy civilisation. Totally normal. Robert has regularly criticised the Labour Party but now he has found common ground - on Starmer's approach to racism.
And Starmer even received support from whitelivesmatter who thinks Black Lives Matter is a brainwashing sham that allows blacks to get a free ride. Need I say more?
In all honesty I was bombarded by accounts, most with fewer than 10 followers calling me "commie", "liar", and amusingly "dickcheese" for criticising the Labour leader. I spent an entire day blocking hundreds of them. I have never received such a backlash when criticising Starmer or the Tories and most were clearly fake accounts.  Other Twitter users have told me they experienced the same. Where the hell did the bots come from and who is funding them?

Will the Labour leader denounce the abusive and racist bots spontaneously defending his recent actions? Will the media run a story on this scandal like they so often did whenever they encountered a socialist on Twitter posting antisemitic content?

Now you could put forward the argument this is all unfair, that no one could prove where these accounts came from, and that Starmer would not endorse their behaviour. These would be fair points, only the Labour leader's record on tackling racism in the Labour Party has so far been abysmal - from his failure to condemn the racist abuse received by the likes of Diane Abbott to his immediate condemnation of Rebecca Long-Bailey and then his awful comments on Black Lives Matter, the Labour leader is all over the place. He is not showing a consistent and coherent approach, instead only acting decisively when a socialist is accused.

I don't think these bots have anything to do with Starmer or the Labour Party, but the fact remains, they are only able to cause trouble because Starmer's clumsiness has enabled them to. His recent words and actions have positioned him closer to the far right than to the left and BAME communities are saying they feel abandoned by Labour and are now politically homeless. Surely Starmer should be winning these people back and distancing himself from the far right so as not to give them further ammunition.

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